The Houston Lady Toppers took their first district loss Jan. 17 but they didn’t go quietly.
The Lady Toppers took it to double-overtime before they conceded the 56-60 loss at home.
Houston trailed by four midway through the third, but worked together to stay positive with Laura Beth Nichols hitting a deuce and dishing to LaShari Free for another. The up-tempo game led to multiple steals from each side.
The Lady Toppers closed the gap in the fourth with Amber Frison’s dish to Teria Crawford and went up one as Free snagged a rebound and Crawford sank it. Leake’s Mia Coleman connected twice from the charity stripe to put the Lady Gators up by a goal, but Nichols hit Frison with a half-court pass which she sent to Free for the tying basket.
Nichols opened the first overtime period with a trey to give the Lady Toppers an edge and they held their advantage through the first three minutes of play but Leake’s Teanna Moore and Alycia Watkins were accurate from the free throw line to tie it up with under a minute to play. Neither team could sink a shot in the final 49 seconds of the period, forcing a second overtime at 54-54.
The Lady Gators grabbed a quick lead off Sharissa Jefferson’s back-to-back goals and Moore’s free throw. Houston’s Ashley Conner closed the gap with two from the line, but the Lady Toppers couldn’t connect enough for the win.
Houston 40, Leake 57
The Houston boys got into a hole in the first half and had trouble digging out the remainder of the game.
Senior Chase Eldridge hit from the post after a head fake and got a putback to help and Jay Jay Jones made his layup good at the end of the second, but the Toppers went into the break down 13-33.
Houston’s Caleb Mogan opened the third with a jumper for a deuce and Javan Farr and Rodger Pratt each made a trey good to help the Toppers close the gap to 14 to end the period.
J.J. Brownlee’s dish to Morgan for a bucket and Jones’ deuce helped pull the Toppers within 12 but that was as close as they would get. The Gators had consistent accuracy as the Toppers struggled at the net and Leake took the district win.
On the floor
The Toppers and Lady Toppers have a busy week, hosting Noxubee County Tuesday and heading to West Lauderdale Friday. They will play in North Pontotoc Saturday and go straight back into division Jan. 28 hosting Caledonia.